This holiday season I'm partnering with the team at Expedia to share my insights on where to go in 2015. This list is both a reflection of my favorite places as well as a dream destination list, and hopefully travel inspiration for all of you guys too!
While chances are I won't embark on a multi-month backpacking trip next year, I still have a few international escapes in the works. (I'm particularly interested in Iceland but we shall see what plays out- I'm open to anything!)
The Faroe Islands // Solar Eclipse
For whatever reason, I love cold, remote, sparsely populated islands; think the Aran Islands or the Isle of Skye. So naturally, I would love to visit the Faroe Islands for their natural beauty and blend of Scandinavian and Celtic heritage. As a language geek I would also love to learn more about Faroese, the island's dialect. And who knows, maybe meet a Viking or two.
2015 is the perfect time to visit the Faroe Islands as there will be a total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015. Astronomy geeks, take note!
Indian Himalaya // World-class Trekking
Okay, okay- I've probably rhapsodized about the Indian Himalaya enough. Cheap, stunning and undiscovered- need I say more?
Imagine trekking among pink rhododendron trees, herds of water buffalo and soaring, white-tipped mountains- and for cheap. My life-changing ten-day trek cost only $450 dollars for porters, food and transportation, which you can read about here (Part 1 and Part 2). Worth every rupee!
Mongolia // Horseback Riding
I've wanted to venture to Mongolia ever since delving into National Geographic books from the 1970's as a child, but after reading Young Adventuress' blog posts I want to explore Mongolia on horseback. I love roughing it in the wilderness for weeks at a time, so I know windswept rural Mongolia would be right up my alley.
Perth, Australia // Perth International Arts Festival
Have you guys heard of the Royal de Luxe? It's often called “The World's Largest Puppet Show” . I've been trying to track it down for years, and just found out it's coming to Perth in February, 2015, for the Perth International Arts Festival!
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Perth- pristine beaches, incredible coffee, hip local microbreweries like Little Creatures. But the dreamy Royal de Luxe would make a visit to Perth that much sweeter.
Penang, Malaysia // Street Art & Hawker Centers
Penang is quite possibly my favorite city in Southeast Asia. Penang oozes history; from Straits Chinese mansions to British colonial buildings to Thai temples. When I was there in June, I couldn't get enough of the tasty Malay food at hawker centers and the bright bursts of street art all over the city. Highly, highly recommended.
Biarritz, France // Surfing
For a week every July, ritzy Biarritz hosts the Biarritz Surf Festival. Surfers from all over the world compete in longboard contests, paddle board racing and Tahitian pirogue in Biarritz' beautiful bay.
If you're in France in July anyway, swing by Paris for the weekend of July 14 for both Bastille Day and the Firemen's Ball– the latter especially is a must-do!
Central Highlands, Vietnam // Motorcycling
When I tell people about my travels, they invariably ask me, “What was your favorite country?” And I always respond, “Well, I really love France and Vietnam.”
I really couldn't recommend Vietnam more highly, and my 600-kilometer motorcycle trip was among my favorite travel experiences ever.
If you head to Vietnam in 2015, start in sleek and motorbike-bamboozled Saigon, dip down to the lush Mekong Delta, then journey up to the Central Highlands, Hoi An and Hue. Finish off your trip with a stay in Hanoi with obligatory trips to Sapa and Halong Bay. And if you do the whole trip on a motorcycle, bonus points.
Amsterdam, Netherlands // Nuit Blanche
I'm a sucker for Flemish architecture, so naturally, I found Amsterdam stunning. But if I were planning a visit in 2015, I wouldn't miss Nuit Blanche.
Nuit Blanche is an all-night festivity that takes place the first Saturday of November, during which Amsterdam's museums are open all night, and revelers enjoy everything from candlelit symphonies and canalside mansion parties.
Austria // Christmas Markets
Thought Paris' Christmas markets disappointed me, I absolutely adore Christmas Markets of the Teutonic variety. Sipping piping glühwein while staring up at Christmas lights and just enjoying a spirit of conviviality and dare I say, hygge? Yes, please.
I'd love to visit the Vienna Christmas market, and plus, I've always wanted to ski the Tyrolean Alps. Hence why Austria would be an excellent choice for winter 2015.
Denver, Colorado // Great American Beer Festival (or Skiing!)
You didn't think I would make this list without including a shout out to my new city, did you?
As I've learned in the past few months, Denver has tons to offer: proximity to beautiful mountains, trendy bars and friendly, outdoorsy people.
Oh, and for all my single ladies? Let's just say Denver is nicknamed “Menver” for a reason.
ANYWAY. There are other reasons besides rugged mountain men to visit Denver too. One is the Great American Beer Festival, held in early October. Though nearly impossible to score a ticket, the Great American Beer Festival is an expo in which the best of American beer is on tap. Yes.
And if you can't make it in October, the summer concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater are supposed to be insane too. I'll certainly be going this summer!
Where do you want to go in 2015? Spill in the comments!
All images not my own are property of Wikimedia Commons.